Expanding Participation of People with Disabilities in the Philippines AKA “EXPAND”

The Challenge

At least 90% of Deaf people in developing countries receive no formal education, and 80% of the world’s population of Deaf people live in low/middle income countries such as the Philippines. Deaf Filipinos also experience disproportionate rates of abuse, unemployment, and discrimination.

Our Goal

In 2012, via the EMPOWER Program funded by the US Department of State, Discovering Deaf Worlds began providing Deaf Filipinos with training on organizational development, Deaf education, policy, advocacy, and community outreach.

With the EXPAND Program, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), our goal is to “expand” the participation of Deaf Filipinos in their country’s society, workforce, and culture. How? By working with the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) to improve the sustainability of PFD and its 28 member organizations, creating a stronger pool of Deaf leaders who can carry on this vital advocacy work.

Our Strategy

We are working closely with the PFD Sustainability Sub Committee (PFD-SSC) through 2015, using a “train the trainer” approach. After DDW program specialists import knowledge and assist with hosting capacity building workshops for the Filipino Deaf community, PFD-SSC members will become self-sufficient in the necessary skills. PFD-SSC will then plan, host, facilitate and export what they have learned by training their peers throughout the country. Meet the DDW and Filipino team members.

As a result, PFD and its member organizations will be better equipped to improve the rights, education, economic opportunities, and communication access for the 120,000 Deaf people in the Philippines.

Our Focus Areas

Following the Importer–Self-Sufficiency–Exporter model, training will build up Deaf Filipino leaders’ capacity to do the following:

  • Collect data and create strategic plans
  • Understand disability law
  • Follow organizational governance best practices
  • button-meetteamEngage in fund management, fundraising, & fund development
  • Develop and evaluate programs
  • Carry out marketing, outreach, & public relations
  • Conduct a national forum on deaf leadership, and
  • Continue the cycle of training through follow-on activities and community workshops.

How You Can Help

This grant is only a start. You can help sustain this partnership by making a donation today

  • $250 will allow a PFD-SSC member to mentor emerging Filipino Deaf leaders in remote provinces outside of Manila for one week,
  • $100 will purchase needed training materials for an organizational development training session, and
  • $50 will pay for sign language interpreting services for a full day of programming.

Read more about the EXPAND Program here

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The EXPAND Program is made possible with the generous support from the American people, delivered through the U.S. Agency for International Development.


For more information, contact EXPAND Program Manager, Davin Searls at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it